Art on the Meuse kicks off

Olivier Goethals and Benjamin Verdonck are the first artists in the project

Over the next few years, the Regionaal Landschap Kempen en Maasland and Z33, Centre for Contemporary Art, Design & Architecture are bringing art to the Meuse Valley in Limburg. In the period between 2022 and 2024, five artworks will appear in five municipalities in the Maasland (Dilsen-Stokkem, Kinrooi, Lanaken, Maaseik, Maasmechelen). As we await the first installation in Lanaken, artists Benjamin Verdonck and Olivier Goethals will provide a lead-in, marking the official kick-off of the art project.

Art on the Meuse, a collaboration

Art on the Meuse, a collaboration between RLKM and Z33 Following art in public space at Borgloon-Heers, Hasselt and Genk, it is now coming to the Limburg Meuse Valley. Over the next few years, this art project of international appeal will give tangible visibility to the ways in which humans and nature shape the landscape. The project focuses on four themes: river dynamics, boundary blurring, gravel industry, and location-specific phenomena. The artists will each work on one or more of these central foci.

Locally embedded long-term project

The art project will develop in stages, complemented with a programme of activities. The first artwork will be unveiled in Lanaken in the spring of 2022, followed by Kinrooi in the autumn of 2022. Artworks will also be installed consecutively in Maaseik, Maasmechelen and Dilsen-Stokkem, with the final unveiling in 2023. This temporal spread enables us to involve local residents through working groups. This local support is crucial for a successful project in public space. We seek to ensure that the artworks have a strong connection with the surrounding area. Local support is therefore important in the realization of each artwork. Since March, a select but diverse group of residents of Maaseik and Kinrooi have been reflecting on the commission for the artworks in their municipalities. The working groups in Dilsen-Stokkem and Maasmechelen will begin in the autumn. The uniqueness of the landscape is the guiding principle for weighing artistic choices, particularly with respect to river-technical feasibility, impact on the natural environment and sustainability.

Artists Olivier Goethals and Benjamin Verdonck are kicking off

As we await the five artworks, Olivier Goethals and Benjamin Verdonck are providing a lead-in. With the Meuse Valley as a stage, they will make the project visible for the first time, creating links between the municipalities and inspiring curiosity.

Artist-architect Olivier Goethals works on the theme of ‘connection’. To this end, he is currently mapping the spatial characteristics and possibilities of the Meuse Valley. He seeks to connect various arteries symbolically or physically, for example between the Meuse, the South-Willems Canal and the National Road N78 (north-south), and the bridges spanning the Meuse in Maasmechelen and Maaseik (east-west). His work will be presented this autumn.

Benjamin Verdonck’s work devotes considerable interest and care to ‘things’. He explores how a small gesture can have a great impact. Walking through the Meuse Valley, he collects object that tell stories about different places. His unique commitment elevates everyday objects to an extraordinary status. He creates a collection of which the inherent logic only becomes clear during the process. He terms this the ‘cartography of the walk’. Starting in November 2021, Verdonck will present his findings in display cases at various locations.

Practical information

Art on the Meuse is an initiative of Z33, House for Contemporary Art, Design & Architecture (Hasselt) and Regionaal Landschap Kempen & Maasland.

The project is supported by Flanders, in particular by Tourism Flanders and the Cultural Infrastructure Fund (FoCI), and the five Flemish Meuse municipalities (Kinrooi, Maaseik, Dilsen-Stokkem, Maasmechelen and Lanaken). The project is being carried out in cooperation with numerous actors who are active in the Meuse valley.

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